Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Robot Dragster Project - Chapter Seven. "One half Impulse Power...."

We meet on Thursdays.

In the winter this means that I very much hope for blizzards and other inclement stuff to come any other day of the week.  This week school was cancelled on Tuesday due to an ice storm.  Thursday was good.
Final wiring done.  We ran out of time before we could connect up the steering, it needs a little reinforcement anyway.  The remaining sessions will be testing and adding crash resistance.

This is the near final form.  Sadly, we don't get any sponsorship from 3M...somebody just brought the stickers in.


This is bench testing the control system....and a rough idea of maximum rpms once it gets up to Warp Speed.

As you can see, the theoretical top speed is scary.  I detailed two kids to work on a braking system. The theory is that we mount this high torque little gear motor with a bolted on plywood/friction tape paddle in such a fashion that when it is activated it will repetitively "bump" the drive belt.  Sort of like pumping the brakes on an icy road.  Which in fact is probably exactly where we will end up testing it.


With about 15 minutes to spare we plopped the dragster down in the hallway and powered it up.  Nothing happened, the belt spun, the wheels stood still.  This was puzzling to me, I knew it had worked a week earlier.  One of my brighter students correctly diagnosed the problem, the shaft holding the front steering wheel was binding the wheel.  Once this was freed up we were able to do several short hallway tests.  At this point we are not trying to steer it, simply give it about five seconds of power to see what the acceleration is like.

Ahead at one half impulse power, Mr. Sulu.


The lads are in fairly high spirits, as they should be.  This is a complex machine and I think it has good prospects for working well.  My assistant and I are privately estimating a top speed of 30 to 35 mph if we can get the police to block off a section of nearby roadway for us.  And if they can control it.

Also if it does not snow on the test day.  I probably should have done this project spring trimester but that would conflict with my archeology trip.

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